Unit Detals

23rd Infantry Regiment

Coat of Arms

  

Infantry Regiment Organization


Headquarters Company

CO

Rank Name From To Status
   Colonel Paul L. Freeman, Jr.      
         

XO

Rank Name From To Status
         
         

S-1 Personnel

Rank Name From To Status
             
             

S-2 Intelligence

Rank Name From To Status
             
             

S-3 Plan sand Operations

Rank Name From To Status
         
         

1. 
S-4 Logistics

Rank Name From To Status
 Maj.        
             

Service Company


Rank Name From To Status
             
             

Antitank Company


Rank Name From To Status
             
             

Medical Detachment


Rank Name From To Status
             
             

 

Unit Info

 

 

August

A previous chapter recounted the series of bloody battles on the coastal road between the N.K. 5th Division and the ROK 3d Division through the first days of August. The fighting seesawed around Yŏngdök for two weeks, with first one side and then the other holding the town. This action. had ended with the ROK's temporarily regaining Yŏngdök. But they held it only briefly.


On 5 August the North Koreans attacked again and drove the ROK's south of the town to Hill 181.

August August

August 7, 1950 - Monday August 7, 1950 (Day 44)

General Walker sent a personal message to Colonel Emmerich, the KMAG adviser with the ROK 3d Division, saying that the lost ground must be regained. Plans were made for a counterattack the next night. During the 6th, while these plans were being readied, it was possible from the ROK division command post to see, through field glasses, the North Korean and ROK troops locked in battle at grenade range on Hill 181.


The night attack got under way at 1930 with a 15-minute air attack using rockets, napalm, and bombs.


Naval gunfire and an artillery preparation for another fifteen minutes followed the air attack. Then at 2000 the ROK 22d and 23rd Regiments moved out in the infantry attack. They drove the North Koreans from Hill 181 and held it during the night.


On the morning of 7 August the attack resumed after another naval and artillery preparation. This drove the enemy to a point just south of Yŏngdök. [18-8]

[note]

August 10, 1950 - Thursday August 10, 1950 (Day 47)

  

But on August 10 the NKPA 5th Division, linking with the NKPA 12th Division, had cut behind the ROK 3rd Division and isolated it on the coast above Yŏngdök. Continuing this combined attack, the NKPA 12th Division had captured P'ohang, thereby posing a threat to Taegu through the "back door."

Believing Taegu to be gravely threatened, Walker ordered emergency measures to save the city.

Bio    

[note]

August 12, 1950 - Saturday August 12, 1950 (Day 49)

   Bio

On August 12 Johnnie Walker again flew in to confer with  John Church. He found complete chaos. The NKPA forces were swarming all over the MSR and had all but surrounded Yŏngsan-ni,. The three infantry regiments dug in facing the Naktong (9th; 19th; 34th) were desperately repelling new all-out NKPA assaults. Gordon Murch's 2/27 and George De Chow's 3/27 were coming up from the south toward Yŏngsan-ni,; but the Wolfhounds had run head-on into thousands of fleeing refugees, and progress was slow. Worse yet, every yard gained pushed more unwanted NKPA troops against Yŏngsan-ni,.

The situation convinced Walker that unless he committed further reserves, there was danger that the NKPA might capture Yŏngsan-ni, and continue east to Miryang and block the main Taegu - Pusan road and railway. He therefore reluctantly ordered 2nd Division commander Dutch Keiser to provide a battalion combat team from another of his regiments, the 23rd Infantry.

The 23rd, like the 9th, also had a brand-new Pentagon assigned commander, West Pointer (1929) Paul F. Freeman, forty-three. Freeman was an "old China hand." He had first served there with the 15th Infantry Regiment from 1933 to 1936. Three years later he returned to China as a language student and intelligence officer and was still in China when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. As the Pacific War spread, he migrated to India, where he became G4 to Joseph W. ("Vinegar Joe") Stilwell, and later organized Stilwell's commando team, which became famous in Burma as Merrill's Marauders.

Returning to the Pentagon in mid1943 as Stilwell's emissary, Freeman was drafted into the Army's war plans group. After working on the plan for the invasion of the Philippines, in late 1944 he joined the operation, serving as chief of staff of the 77th Division on Leyte and Luzon and the Sixth Army and I Corps G3. On Leyte he had a brief tour of combat leadership when he led a two company task force and "got shot at."

After the war George Marshall invited him to join his China mission, but Freeman was "fed up" with China and declined, choosing instead duty in the Army's Latin America section, working with or under Matt Ridgway and Godwin Ordway.

Upon the outbreak of the Korean War Freeman was ordered to command the 23rd Infantry. Like John Hill, he was appointed RCT commander, leaving in place the incumbent regimental commander, West Pointer (1931) Edwin J. (Ed") Messinger, forty-three, a noted athlete and paratrooper who had fought with the 17th Airborne Division in the ETO. However, unlike Hill, Freeman knew Dutch Keiser well from prior service and balked at this "bastard" command arrangement. Upon his arrival in Korea, the RCT title was abolished. Freeman took direct command of the regiment, and Ed Messinger was demoted to exec. In return, Freeman remained deeply loyal to Keiser and, almost alone among the senior officers of the division, defended Keiser's style of commanding from his CP.

Thanks to the fine work of Messinger and others, Freeman found the 23rd Regiment to be well trained and officered. Mated to the 37th FAB, commanded by West Pointer (1933) William H. Richardson, it arrived in Pusan ready for combat.

[note]

August 17, 1950 - Thursday August 17, 1950 (Day 54)

  

About daylight, 17 August, the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, arrived at Yŏngju to buttress the defense there. [18-29]

[note]

biography

The division completed loading the next morning, including 125 wounded in the perimeter, and the last LST pulled away from the beach at 0700.

 The division at this time consisted of the 22nd and 23rd Regiments and 1,200 attached National Police. More than 9,000 men of the division, the 1,200 National Police, and 1,000 laborers, together with all their weapons, ammunition and equipment, escaped to the waiting vessels under cover of darkness and naval gunfire. After daylight of the 17th the Fifth Air Force helped maintain a curtain of fire around the beach.

 [note]

August 24, 1950 - Thursday August 24, 1950 (Day - 61)

        

With the enemy turned back north of Taegu, General Walker on 24 August issued orders for the 27th Infantry to leave the Bowling Alley and return to the 25th Division in the Masan area. The ROK 1st Division was to assume responsibility for the Bowling Alley, but the U.S. 23rd Regiment was to remain north of Taegu in its support.

[note]

August 25, 1950 - Friday August 25, 1950 (Day - 62)

  

With the enemy turned back north of Taegu, General Walker on 24 August issued orders for the 27th Infantry to leave the Bowling Alley and return to the 25th Division in the Masan area. The ROK 1st Division was to assume responsibility for the Bowling Alley, but the U.S. 23rd Regiment was to remain north of Taegu in its support.

ROK relief of the 27th Infantry began at 1800, 25 August, and continued throughout the night until completed at 0345, 26 August.

[note]

August 29, 1050 - Tuesday August 29, 1950 (Day - 66)

        

North of the 9th Infantry sector of the 2nd Division front along the Naktong, the 23rd Regiment on 29 August had just relieved the 3d Battalion of the 38th Infantry Regiment, which in turn had only a few days before relieved the 21st Infantry Regiment of the 24th Division.

On 31 August, therefore, the 23rd Regiment was in a new sector of which it had only a limited knowledge. It took over a 16,000-yard Naktong River front without its 3d Battalion which had been attached to the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division.

Colonel Freeman, the regimental commander, deployed the 1st Battalion on the high ground along the river with the three companies abreast. Actually, the 1st Battalion, under Lt. Col. Claire E. Hutchin, Jr., little more than outposted the hills with platoons and squads.

 He placed the 2d Battalion in a reserve position approximately eight miles in the rear of the 1st Battalion and in a position where it commanded the road net in the regimental sector.

On the last day of the month the 2d Division moved E Company south to a reserve position in the 9th Infantry sector. [23- 27]

[note]

August 30, 1950 - Wednesday August 30, 1950 (Day - 67)

  

With the enemy turned back north of Taegu, General Walker on 24 August issued orders for the 27th Infantry to leave the Bowling Alley and return to the 25th Division in the Masan area.

The ROK 1st Division was to assume responsibility for the Bowling Alley, but the U.S. 23rd Regiment was to remain north of Taegu in its support.

 ROK relief of the 27th Infantry began at 1800, 25 August, and continued throughout the night until completed at 0345, 26 August.

On 30 August the regiment [27th Infantry] received orders to move from near Taegu to Masan, and it started at 0800 the next morning (31st), personnel going by train, vehicles by road.

[note]

August 31, 1950 - Thursday August 31, 1950 (Day - 68)

Before the morning of 1 September had passed, reports coming in to 2d Division headquarters made it clear that North Koreans had penetrated to the north-south Ch'angnyŏng-Yongsan road and cut the division in two; the 38th and 23d Infantry Regiments with the bulk of the division artillery in the north were separated from the division headquarters and the 9th Infantry Regiment in the south.

General Keiser decided that this situation made it advisable to control and direct the divided division as two special forces. Accordingly, he placed the division artillery commander, Brig. Gen. Loyal M. Haynes, in command of the northern group. Haynes' command post was seven miles north of Ch'angnyŏng. Task Force Haynes became operational at 1020, 1 September. [23-31]

Southward, in the Yongsan area, General Keiser placed Brig. Gen. Joseph S. Bradley, Assistant Division Commander, in charge of the 9th Infantry Regiment, the 2d Engineer Combat Battalion, most of the 72d Tank Battalion, and other miscellaneous units of the division. This southern grouping was known as Task Force Bradley.

All three regiments of the enemy 2d Division-the 4th, 17th, and 6th, in line from north to south-crossed during the night to the east side of the Naktong River into the 23rd Regiment sector.

The enemy 2d Division, concentrated in the Sinban-ni area west of the river, had, in effect, attacked straight east across the river and was trying to seize the two avenues of advance into Ch'angnyŏng above and below Lake Up'o.

map

Place_Names/PDF_MAPs/35°40'N_128°15'E_6820-I_CHANGYONG_L751.pdf

Place_Names/MAP_17_Chŏnju_Region_L552-NI52-2.pdf

The water area of this lake [Lake U-p'o] and the surrounding marshland varied according to the season and the amount of rainfall. On 31 August 1950, Lake U-p'o was a large body of water although in most places only a few feet deep. [23-32]

[note]

With the enemy turned back north of Taegu, General Walker on 24 August issued orders for the 27th Infantry to leave the Bowling Alley and return to the 25th Division in the Masan area.

The ROK 1st Division was to assume responsibility for the Bowling Alley, but the U.S. 23rd Regiment was to remain north of Taegu in its support.

 ROK relief of the 27th Infantry began at 1800, 25 August, and continued throughout the night until completed at 0345, 26 August.

On 30 August the regiment [27th Infantry] received orders to move from near Taegu to Masan, and it started at 0800 the next morning (31st), personnel going by train, vehicles by road.

[note]

 

On the last day of the month the 2nd Division moved E Company south to a reserve position in the 9th Infantry sector. [23-27]

Two roads ran through the regimental sector from the Naktong River to Ch'angnyŏng.

In effect, the 1st Battalion of the 23rd Regiment guarded these two approach routes to Ch'angnyŏng.

The forty-two men of the 2nd Platoon, B Company, 23rd Infantry, led by 1st Lt. William M. Glasgow held outpost positions on seven hills covering a 2,600-yard front along the east bank of the Naktong north of Pugong-ni. Across the river in the rice paddies they could see, in the afternoon of 31 August, two large groups of enemy soldiers. Occasionally artillery fire dispersed them.

[note]

Sepember 1, 1950

  

On 1 August, [on September 1] therefore, the 23rd Regiment was in a new sector of which it had only a limited knowledge. It took over a 16,000-yard Naktong River front without its 3d Battalion which had been attached to the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division. Colonel Freeman, the regimental commander, deployed the 1st Battalion on the high ground along the river with the three companies abreast. Actually, the 1st Battalion, under Lt. Col. Claire E. Hutchin, Jr., little more than out posted the hills with platoons and squads. He placed the 2d Battalion in a reserve position approximately eight miles in the rear of the 1st Battalion and in a position where it commanded the road net in the regimental sector.

[note]

   

Still farther northward in the zone of the 38th Infantry the North Koreans were far from idle. After the enemy breakthrough during the night of 31 August, General Keiser on 1 September [what time?] had ordered the 2d Battalion, 38th Infantry, to move south and help the 23rd Regiment establish a defensive position west of Ch'angnyŏng. In attempting to do this, the battalion found enemy troops already on the ridges along the road. They had in fact penetrated to Hill 284 overlooking the 38th Infantry command post. This hill and Hill 209 dominated the rear areas of the regiment.

[note]

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